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#BizTrends2018: ...And the Bots are live!

When was the last time you read the news in an actual newspaper, held a paper book in your hands (let alone read one), used a cheque book or even sat down in front of the television to watch your favourite series with the family on an actual TV?
Sue Disler.
Can’t remember? Well I can’t… and the reason for this giant memory loss, is because of the rapid technological advancements we have seen being created over the past few decades.

Not only has tech changed our lives - its completely revolutionised just about every area of our lives - and how we work too. Our phones have become our office. It’s the device we all use to keep updated on the world around us. And for most of us it lets us indulge in daily doses of entertainment – be it Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Candy Crush and more.

In the marketing world tech has literally forced companies and brands to completely rethink how they create and distribute content to targeted (and niche) audiences. And because its constantly changing, we as marketers need to keep up-to-date on the latest advances, identify how they affect us and adjust our strategies accordingly.

Here are just a few questions to ask yourself that could influence how you move forward in 2018:

1. Where does the Chatbot fit into your business?

Yes you read that right. Where? Not When? According to a survey by Oracle, which included responses from South Africa, 80% of businesses already utilise or are planning to use chatbots by 2020.

Why? Using the human brain as inspiration, there are computers today that have been programmed with the ability to learn, reason, solve problems, speech recognition and recognise circumstances – all without human intelligence or intervention. You just have to watch Hanson Robotics’ robot, Sofia to see how this works.

Because of this kind of advancement, the more common digital assistants (chatbots) out there have had to grow up fast. Today they have the ability to have voice and facial recognition capability, which enables them to identify customers’ faces and voices across all types of media. All this means that having a chatbot is a must-have for any business in any type of industry should you want to keep up with changing technology. It’s even predicted that chatbots will be a new way of monetising the mobile experience – yes, that’s a move away from smartphone apps.

2. Are pre-recorded videos a thing of the past?

We all know that we would rather watch a video than read a blog post/article – no? As far back as 2016, Facebook reported that their users are spending 3x more time watching live videos and commenting 10x more. Facebook videos already average 135% more organic reach than images, status, and link posts. And the reason for this is because videos are given preference over text and image posts. With Facebook gearing toward being “video first” LIVE videos are now given preference over all posts. The result being that LIVE video is outperforming pre-recorded content quite substantially.

It makes sense actually – the real-time aspect and opportunity to be truly original, creates a far better experience for both the user and the brand all round - and it’s for these reasons, more and more marketers and brands are investing in more video and live content.

So, whether it’s a closer look at your product, or a behind-the-scenes of shoot or broadcast of an event, take advantage of this trend now before others do too.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

P.S.: Bet you just watched the video! 
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About Sue Disler

Sue Disler has more than 25 years of experience in the advertising and marketing as a designer (and sometimes coder), art director and strategist, the last 20 largely dedicated to digital. Email her at , follow @suediz on Twitter or find out more on Linkedin.